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Published: 2010-11-26 00:00:00

The Kaimai Catchments Project - aimed at protecting the catchments which flow into Waikato’s Waihou River and Tauranga Harbour, and delivering wider environmental benefits - is holding a stakeholder forum and a farmer workshop next month.

The Kaimai Ranges project is receiving $345,000 over three years from the Ministry for the Environment and is managed by the NZ Landcare Trust. It also involves a Kaimai Inter-agency Coordination Committee, made up of the Department of Conservation, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Environment Waikato.

Nutrients and sediment from land in the Kaimai Ranges disperse into the Waihou River and Tauranga harbour, and these water bodies are a key focus for protection under the project. Also, sustainable management of natural resources in the area - to help support activities such as agriculture, forestry, recreation and conservation – is another important concern for the project.

Earlier this year, a stakeholder forum was held in Tauranga to hear the views of representatives from community and stakeholder organisations on the management of natural resources in the Kaimai and northern Mamaku catchments.

Now a second stakeholder forum is to be held on the western side at Putaruru on 6 December. This will focus on information sharing and will include a field trip to a local farm to examine and discuss water quality and nutrient management issues relevant to the Kaimai Catchments Project.

Kate Akers, who is managing the project on behalf of the NZ Landcare Trust, said the earlier forum was a very useful exercise. “July’s forum was attended by a really diverse group of representatives. Within a positive atmosphere and with a willingness to cooperate, members discussed the purposes for the forum, which included providing collaborative inspiration and leadership to the community, recognising the Kaimai-Mamaku region as a whole and integrated unit, connected from the mountain tops to the sea.

“Forum members also identified their need to prioritise the issues and concerns they have for the Kaimai-Mamaku region, taking into consideration the information provided in the recently commissioned report on the state of the environment for the catchments of the Kaimai range and northern Mamaku Plateau. The group sought to identify and describe what they as a forum could do to achieve better outcomes for the catchments. With such a wide range of issues to consider, the group may decide to form working groups which could focus in on two or three priority issues and to use their collective weight to advocate for action.”

The forum on 6 December will be followed by a workshop for farmers on 15 December at the property of EW councillor and farmer Norm Barker. It will look at whole farm planning, including the real issues facing farmers today, including profitability, viability and resource risks. The workshop will encourage open discussion on the challenges ahead, and present some of the latest relevant scientific knowledge. The farm walk will include work stations looking at soil health, riparian management and the dairy effluent/maize silage project. 

EW’s biosecurity and heritage group manager John Simmons said spreading such knowledge was a useful way of protecting water quality from the impacts of agriculture.

“We are collaborating closely with the agricultural sector on getting good information out to farmers on ways of helping them to better protect the environment.

“Many farmers are already doing a great job and we want to try to ensure all of them have the knowledge to make a real difference.”

The farm planning workshop on 15 December is being held at Cr Barker’s Moondance Farm at 74 Waimakariri Road in Tapapa, near Tirau, in South Waikato from 10am to 2.15pm with lunch provided. For more information and to register, contact Kate Akers on 07 574 8310 or email